How Tom Pidcock powered to World Cyclo-cross title

Yorkshire’s Tom Pidcock powered his way to World Cyclo-cross Championship glory on Sunday, winning the title race in America in emphatic style.
Tom Pidcock on the podium after winning the 2022 Walmart UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships - Elite Men - in Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA. Picture: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com.Tom Pidcock on the podium after winning the 2022 Walmart UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships - Elite Men - in Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA. Picture: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com.
Tom Pidcock on the podium after winning the 2022 Walmart UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships - Elite Men - in Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA. Picture: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com.

The 22-year-old, from Leeds, attacked on the fourth of nine laps of a dry but testing circuit at Fayetteville, Arkansas, leaving his rivals behind and quickly building a lead of around 30 seconds over the next couple of laps.

Having coped well with team tactics from several Belgian riders for the first few laps, Pidcock - the reigning Olympic mountain bike champion - shrugged them off and went it alone.

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He appeared to relish the freedom of an open course, putting the power down where it mattered with a fine display of technique and power.

World champion Tom Pidcock crosses the line Superman style at the end of the Walmart UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships - Elite Men. Picture: Will Palmer/SWpix.com.World champion Tom Pidcock crosses the line Superman style at the end of the Walmart UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships - Elite Men. Picture: Will Palmer/SWpix.com.
World champion Tom Pidcock crosses the line Superman style at the end of the Walmart UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships - Elite Men. Picture: Will Palmer/SWpix.com.

After his gap extended to nearly 40 seconds on lap seven, he settled into a rhythm around 30 seconds ahead and his rivals knew they were fighting for second.

“It was always going to be a super hard race,” said Pidcock afterwards. “The Belgians were trying to ride a tactical race but I was having none of it. I took the opportunity and made it stick. We came here with a plan and a process and we stuck to it and it turned out good in the end. After a week in a hotel out here the stress builds up and it was a difficult one to manage for sure.”

Pidcock’s victory was his first senior World Cyclo-cross Championship win, but he was junior World Champion in 2017 while he won the Under-23 crown in 2019. Further down the field, Doncaster’s Ben Turner finished 14th while national champion Thomas Mein finished 20th.

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In other categories Zoe Backstedt won gold for Great Britain in the junior women’s World Championship on Saturday, crossing the line 32 seconds ahead of the Netherlands’ Leonie Bentvelt in Saturday’s race.

And her GB team-mate Nathan Smith took bronze in the Under-23 men’s World Championship on Sunday.